The café gourmand (“greedy coffee” or coffee for someone who really likes their food) is a relative newcomer on the dessert scene in French restaurants. I think I became aware of it about four years ago but I can’t be sure. The thing is, it’s got the food critics all in a twist – they either love it or hate it. What is it and why such strong feelings?
The café gourmand is basically your after-meal coffee – for a French person this is always going to be an espresso, for me it’s a “noisette” (an espresso with a drop of milk) – accompanied by a selection of mini desserts, usually around 3 to 5 depending on the establishment. These often include chocolate mousse, crème brulée, a cake of some sort like a madeleine or financier, perhaps a fruit tart, a macaron, some ice-cream, panna cotta, the list is endless and only limited by the chef’s imagination…. By serving coffee and dessert at the same time the client saves time and has dessert without really having dessert! And if you’re like me and can never make up your mind what you want, the choice is done for you. A little bit of everything. Perfect.
But there are purists and critics who don’t like it. Some say it’s a way for the restaurant to get rid of its leftovers and that the quality isn’t great. Some say a coffee should never be accompanied by dessert, it should always be afterwards. But I’m all for innovation and even if it is a way to use up leftovers, that’s ecological in this day of food waste, isn’t it? I’m definitely in the “love” camp.
What about you? Have you tried café gourmand? Do you like the idea of it? Love or hate?
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